Tuesday, 22 July 2008

Stating the Blinking Obvious (tm)

I am convinced that one day, in Anytown University somewhere I will accidentally walk into the wrong class. This hypothetical classroom is filled with old women. There is a quite normal person stood in front of them, unable to use the PowerPoint presentation they should be trained to use. Each old woman has an egg placed in front of her, and is being taught to suck it.

What has prompted this extended metaphor, you ask? Today we had a semi-lecture (which is like a lecture, but not in the safe, anonymous environment of a real lecture theatre where one can sleep/read/otherwise not pay attention. The seminar was about the important of spirituality in patient/client life. Firstly, given the guest speaker was from a hospice, I thought it might be stealth religion talk. But no, nothing so insipid.

It turns out that spirituality means... well... everything. Pretty stupid fucking definition, really. The importance of everything to the patient/client. Everything is, by definition, the be all and end all. This glorious definition kicked off a close to 2-hour extravaganza in which we were told many things.

Newsflash!: Some patients need a bit of company, and to be listened to.

Breaking News!: Nurses should be considerate.

I know. Revelations. Well, actually: no. These are things we were bombarded with through our first module. And ever since, really.

I'm not being funny, but if you don't know the basic parts of the nursing skillbase after three placements, you've either had a sheltered year or are as empathic as a plank of wood.

The whole pointless session was topped off by another repition of the poem by the Crabby Old Woman. For the non-nurses out there (it seems like the law of the land that students or workers of this caste called nursing must have it thrust in their faces every three months by my reckoning) this poem can be found: here. It's far too passée for me to copy and paste it onto my lovely blog. The context of the poem is obviously a sad one, but one reading is painfully sufficient.

Yes, I am being cynical. But I'm being clinical, too. In ages gone by, maybe nurses had time to sit all day with patients having a chin wag. The guest speaker was a hospice nurse, which meant they had this added time outside of a clinical environment. Modern, ward-based nurses don't have this luxury. On top of that, modern nurses are shouldered with delicious clinical skills and responsibility. Not to mention overworked. I appreciated the sentiment from twee and wet lecturers that we should never forget the patient in the job, but in a way it's quite offensive. If was ever close to being a box ticker of a nurse I'd get out of the job sharpish. The concept of forgetting that a person is a person is so arse-backwards, the fact that I'm being pre-emptively accused of it is insulting.


GrumpyRN said...

And yet so many nurses do forget that the patient is a person. I have been a patient in wards where I have been spoken to by nurses and students as if I were either 5 years old or demented - I'm not sure which one is more insulting - rather than the senior independent practitioner that I am; who knows more than the person talking to me.

OFMN said...

And that's a massive shame, and something which should not happen. I'm convinced, however, that beating us over the head with the same old platitudes in training isn't going to solve problems in a jiffy.